Archive for December, 2011

Airscene 2012 Photobook now available

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

57 entries from the 2012 Calendar Competition now grace the 40 pages of the Airscene 2012 Photobook.

As with last year not everyone who has entered appears in the book, although some will appear twice and this years cover image is by David Cook. A full preview is available via the following link:

The book is now available for sale at £19.95 (+ p&p) and delivery is a fairly reliable 14 days, although last years photobook arrived in just 4 days.

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Air Tattoo Debutant Takes Pole Position

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

A rare Russian-built helicopter never before seen in the UK is among the first aircraft to confirm participation in next summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

The Polish Navy will be sending one of its Mi-14 ‘Haze’ helicopters, which are used in Anti-Submarine Warfare and Search and Rescue, to the Air Tattoo on July 7-8 along with a maritime and reconnaissance variant of the Soviet-made Antonov An-28.

Both Hungary and Latvia have also confirmed they will be sending Russian-built aircraft, the former sending an Antonov An-26 transport aeroplane and the latter an Mi-8 helicopter. This performs a search-and-rescue role as well as transporting troops and supporting Special Forces. Other aircraft from Brazil and France have also been confirmed for the Air Tattoo.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: “Russian-built aircraft are very popular among UK enthusiasts because of their rarity on these shores. To have one making its UK debut is a real coup and one the enthusiasts will look forward to seeing.

“With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics taking place in the UK next year, I think there’s a feeling that this is the place to be in 2012. Although it is still early for most international air arms to confirm their participation we are already hearing whispers from Asia that might see some extremely rare and exotic aircraft heading for Fairford next summer. It’s very exciting.”

Next summer’s Air Tattoo, which is staged in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, will see the airshow join forces with the RAF to stage a special Diamond Jubilee celebration in honour of Her Majesty The Queen.

A limited number of special Super Earlybird tickets, priced £29, are available until January 4 by visiting or by calling 0800 107 1940. All Air Tattoo tickets must be purchased in advance. All accompanied under-16s go free.

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A Herculean Christmas Gift Arrives at Cosford

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

A Hercules C130K Mk.3 has just become the latest aircraft to go on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, arriving just in time for Christmas. The aircraft was moved from the airfield to the Museum’s site yesterday and placed in its new permanent display space, outside overlooking the Museum site. This supersized Christmas present took a team of fifteen Museum Technicians and RAF Personnel three hours to safely move the aircraft into position, once the aircraft had been defueled.

Now one of the largest aircraft in the Museum’s extensive collection, the Hercules C130K Mk.3 made its final flight into RAF Cosford in August courtesy of No 47 Squadron, RAF Brize Norton. Since its arrival earlier this year, the aircraft has undergone a short period of maintenance carried out on the airfield.

The XV202 Hercules C130K Mk. 3 was an American aircraft built by Lockheed in Marietta, Georgia and acquired by the RAF in 1966, used mainly on longer routes and for paratrooping. This particular aircraft was one of 30 Hercules modified during the early 1980’s, with the fuselage being lengthened by 15ft. Work was carried out by Marshall of Cambridge (Engineering) Ltd, using fuselage plugs in front of and behind of the wing.

RAF Museum Curator, Al McLean says:

“We are very pleased to have this iconic aircraft, particularly as it has such a long record of service with the Royal Air Force and it makes a fine addition to the Cosford site.”

Visitors wishing to see the Hercules can now do so on a daily basis and over the Christmas period. The Museum will be open daily throughout December from 10am apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The Museum will then close again on New Year’s Day and will reopen on Monday 2nd January 2012 from 10am. Admission is FREE. For more information on the Museum please call 01902 376200 or visit

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Interactive gallery to receive £25,000 upgrade

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The Royal Air Force Museum is pleased to announce it has received a grant from the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust for the purpose of upgrading its interactive gallery for children.

The grant comes soon after the Charitable Trust supported the successful upgrade of the interactive gallery at the Museum’s Cosford site earlier this year, which refurbished the older exhibits and also added updated ones.

Between July and September 2012 Aeronauts will be transformed, widening the range and number of visitors able to take part in activities. The revamp will also create a new teaching space for school visits to the Museum.

The upgrade will create a new interactive activity area for younger visitors and families and allow the Museum to develop advanced scientific information displays for older visitors.

New exhibitions will include a balance machine to test pilot aptitude, an ultrasonic radar table and lifesized model aircraft for younger children to explore.

The Aeronauts Interactive Gallery in London was opened in 1998 by members of the popular BBC Children’s show ‘Blue Peter’. It currently contains over thirty ‘hands on’ exhibits which teach children about the scientific aspects of flight and aircraft design.

The gallery was designed for children aged from 7 – 12 years and is popular with both school parties and the general public. It is divided into 7 fascinating areas, each focusing on a specific flight related topic. Visitors can walk through the cloud wall into a world of flying machines, experience a Dakota that flew on the D Day operation or discover whether they have the “Right Stuff” with our pilot aptitude test. Technophiles can enter the “Hangar” to learn about engineering, or feel the thrust of a propeller and propel themselves down a track. Or, daredevils who are really ready for action can take their place in the “Mission”.

Andy McGlynn, the Museum’s Head of Fundraising:

“We are delighted that the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust is supporting the transformation of the Aeronauts Gallery. These changes will improve the experience we are able to offer visitors of all ages and create exciting new ways to discover the science of flight.”

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Friday, December 9th, 2011

A FICTIONAL fast jet pilot named ‘Ace Mandala’ has been unveiled as the face of next summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, organisers have announced.

Ace will feature prominently on billboards, in advertising and on poster sites around the UK in the run-up to next summer’s airshow on July 7-8.

Ace is the creation of renowned artist David Bent, who was inspired following a trip to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in 2007 at the invitation of the Red Arrows. The Red Arrows first saw David’s work on display at the Air Tattoo and shortly after his visit to Cyprus, the artist was invited to become the Reds’ artist in residence.

It was whilst photographing one of the display pilots in his Hawk jet that the idea for Ace came. David said: “Although Ace made his first appearance on the 2011 posters we hadn’t given him a name or an identity. I believe he symbolises all the skilled, adventurous and brave airmen who fly. We decided we’d develop him as a character so that he could become the face of the Air Tattoo. Ultimately, I hope Ace will be to the Air Tattoo what The Stig is to Top Gear.”

Air Tattoo Marketing Deputy Director Helen Webb said when she first saw David’s artwork she was immediately struck by his vivid use of colours and his ability to convey all the excitement aviation has to offer. She said: “We felt that if David could apply the same eye-catching techniques to creating a poster image for the Air Tattoo then it could have a big impact. In the past, members of the Red Arrows have said their journey to becoming a world-class pilot was first inspired by a visit to the Air Tattoo. By bringing ‘Ace Mandala’ to life, we hope to convey the sort of excitement and thrills that can spark the imagination of a future fast jet pilot.”

Next summer’s Air Tattoo on July 7-8 will see the airshow join forces with the Royal Air Force to stage a special Diamond Jubilee celebration in honour of Her Majesty The Queen. A limited number of special Super Earlybird tickets, priced £29, are available by visiting or by calling 0800 107 1940. All tickets must be purchased in advance. All accompanied under-16s go free.

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Major new event encourages folk to be patriotic

Friday, December 9th, 2011

A major new event aimed at celebrating the best of everything British is to be staged at Cotswold Airport next year.

Aviation, the motor industry, food, drink, wildlife, and traditional crafts, are just some of the areas to be covered at the Best of British Show, which will take place during the August Bank Holiday weekend (26th and 27th).

The annual Cotswold Airshow and Battle of Britain Airshow are to be merged and will form part of the major new event, which will also include a concert featuring talented UK bands and individuals.

It is hoped the show will become established as a ‘must visit’ date on the events calendar.

Event director Suzannah Harvey said: “We wanted to create a unique new event and what better than a show which celebrates the best of what our fine nation has to offer.

“It will come at a time when national pride will be on a natural high too, due to the Olympic Games being staged in the UK during the summer.

“In keeping with our proud aviation heritage, a British-themed flying display will form a key part of the proceedings, but there will be so much more for people to see and do as well.”

It is hoped that the RAF’s world famous Red Arrows aerobatic display team – who were based at Cotswold Airport (formerly RAF Kemble) for many years – will make their now annual return to their ‘spiritual home’, along with the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

They will be joined by other famous British aircraft such as the Typhoon, Tucano and Tiger Moth.

On the ground, military vehicles will be joined by a large number of classic cars, with everything from Minis to Bentleys grabbing the public’s attention.

A dog show, lurcher racing, birds of prey and ‘The Lamb National’, will be among the acts entertaining in the show arena.

There will be music to suit every taste later on both days too when bands and solo artists from all over Britain take to the stage to perform.

A traditional funfair and a trade village, showcasing everything from beautifully hand-crafted items to the finest in traditional food and drink, will also give visitors plenty to enjoy.

Miss Harvey added: “We’re still in the planning stages but the show really seems to have captured the imagination as we already have confirmed bookings from organisations and individuals we have contacted.

“We are offering some great sponsorship packages and would also love to hear from any traders interested in coming.

“The Best of British Show is not purely an air show and it isn’t solely a country fair; the event is a celebration of Britain as a whole and includes both those aspects and more.

“Our aim is to offer something for everyone and we truly hope that people will feel patriotic and come along to enjoy the fun.”

Tickets for the event are priced at £15 (adults) and £5 (child aged 5 to 14), in advance.

For more information, visit

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